Topics: Health, Rereātea - Midday News

Police who died in 1918 influenza epidemic honoured

By Jessica Tyson
  • Wellington

Police officers who died in the 1918 influenza Epidemic will be honoured for the first time at a Police Remembrance Day on Friday.

Police staff and family members will gather at the service to honour the 14 officers at The Royal New Zealand Police College in Porirua.

The service is held every year to honour staff who have passed as a result of their duties, as well as former staff who passed away in the last 12 months.

Commissioner Mike Bush says the remembrance day is the most poignant day in the police calendar.

"It's a time for all of us, not just police, to reflect on the bravery and sacrifice of those who have been slain on duty, as well as the contribution of those who have died as a direct result of their efforts to keep their communities safe.”

Bush says many of the deaths are the result of criminal acts, or caused by crashes, accidents and drownings while attempting to save lives.

"Whatever the reason, it's important that we identify all these staff and ensure they are properly honoured and remembered, not just by us, but by the communities they served."

After the service, wreaths will be laid before police recruits perform a haka to honour those being remembered.

Police staff throughout Aotearoa will be wearing the Police Remembrance Day huia pin, developed by New Zealand Police and the Police Association.

Now lost to us, the huia bird's tail plumage is something rare and special and to wear it is considered by Māori to be a great honour.

By incorporating the police chevron into the huia tail feather, the design of the pin symbolises the honouring of someone special, now lost to police.